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The Best Budgeting Apps for New Parents
Updated on
June 27, 2024

The Best Budgeting Apps for New Parents

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The Best Budgeting Apps for New Parents.

Having a baby comes with a whole lot of “firsts,” and for many soon-to-be parents, one of those is creating a budget for the first time. If the thought of creating a budget makes you feel a little uneasy, you’re not alone. The cost of having a baby may be overwhelming on its own, and throwing all your other finances into the mix takes it to a whole other level. This might be the first time you’ve really had to sit down and make a budget, and if you’re unsure where to start, we’re here to help.

R.J. Weiss, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of The Ways to Wealth, recommends preparing your finances before the baby comes. “Prioritize saving for peace of mind and create a solid financial plan,” the father of three advises. “Major changes will be hard to implement once the baby is here, so having a plan will help you manage unexpected expenses and reduce financial stress during this new phase of life.”

Budgeting apps are an easy way to start creating your budget and monitoring expenses (even those future ones like childcare). They can also be an excellent companion to larger financial planning goals if you’ve already begun budgeting efforts. There are so many apps on the market, and many specialize in specific budgeting methods or cater to particular aspects of finances, from savings goals to investments. We spoke to several financial experts about what apps they personally use and selected the cream of the crop for new parents. We even broke down and categorized each app to help you find the perfect one for your growing family.

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Budgeting Apps

The Best Budgeting Apps for New Parents

Best All-In-One Budgeting App

Monarch

Monarch Money

iOS | Android

If you’re looking to go all in with your financial planning, Monarch Money is a comprehensive and customizable app that does it all for you. It syncs with your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments, and automatically categorizes transactions in your budget. The app also boasts a number of other features, reports and tools, including the ability to add family members to your account at no additional cost.

Weiss personally uses Monarch Money to keep his household finances in order. “It’s simple to use and does a great job of helping me keep track of the family budget,” he says.

Cost $14.99/month; $99/year

Best Zero-Based Budgeting App

YNAB

YNAB (You Need A Budget)

iOS | Android

YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting strategy, which means every dollar earned is assigned to a specific part of your budget, including saving and investing. The app allows you to share your plan with family members and not only syncs transactions but also features smart categorization that learns your spending habits over time.

YNAB’s interface can be a little more challenging to navigate, but the reward is worth it for serious users. “It takes a time commitment to set up and utilize properly, but if you are committed, it can turn your financial life around,” says FutureMoney co-founder Dave Fortin.

Cost $14.99/month; $99/year

Best Budgeting App If You’re a Financial Novice

EveryDollar

EveryDollar

iOS | Android

If you’re interested in the zero-based budgeting strategy but don’t want to pay the fee for an app like YNAB, EveryDollar implements the same method of assigning every penny a job in your budget, but offers a free version. In the free app, users manually input income and expenses, but if manual input becomes too tedious, the premium version allows you to link to your bank accounts for automatic synching, among other tools.

Cost Free (Premium version: $17.99/month; $79.99/year)

Best Budgeting App That’s Also a Joint Bank Account

Zeta

Zeta

iOS | Android

Zeta is a double whammy for parents who want to share a bank account in addition to sharing a budget. The app champions itself as being designed for families and allows you to pay bills (there’s even a bill calendar), track shared spending and make savings goals all in one place. Another perk? Zeta’s totally free to use. That being said, the app does offer a premium version that allows additional users (four instead of three) and custom automations for bills and savings goals.

Cost Free (Premium version: $6.99/month)

Best Budgeting App If You’re Saving For a Goal

Quapital

Qapital

iOS | Android

Qapital is the perfect app for anyone who likes to save for a specific goal. “As a new parent, you have a lot of needs, and this app helps you prioritize those financial objectives,” says money expert and journalist Andrea Woroch. “This could include saving for college, family vacays and upgrading your car or buying a bigger home.”

Qapital calls its primary tool “set-and-forget saving” because users are able to link their bank account, set goals, create rules (i.e., $50 a month goes into a new house fund) and let the app do the rest. Qapital offers a tiered membership plan that includes features like a Qapital debit card, a cash tracking tool and investment options; however, even Basic members are able to add a partner to their plan for shared savings goals.

Cost Basic: $3/month; Complete: $6/month; Premier: $12/month

Best Digital Envelope Budgeting App

GoodBudget

GoodBudget

iOS | Android

GoodBudget implements a digital version of the cash envelope system, which is when you allocate a specific amount to different expense categories to ensure you don’t overspend, and then gives you a clear picture of how much you saved when you underspend.

“New parents have many new expenses to prepare for, and this can make budgeting more difficult. [The] envelope method keeps everything organized and helps you [better] prepare your finances each month,” explains Woroch. “You then use that money to pay bills or [make] purchases that fit within the category, which can help keep you to your spending plan without much thought.”

Cost $10/month; $80/year

Best Customizable Budgeting App

PocketGuard

PocketGuard

iOS | Android

There are a number of different budgeting methods that certain apps specialize in, but PocketGuard allows you to choose any rule you want, including zero-based budgeting, the digital envelope system and the 50/30/20 method, where 50% of your budget goes to needs, 30% goes to wants and 20% goes to savings. Users are able to link bank accounts, and PocketGuard will notify you if you’re close to going over your budgeting goal. It also offers insights on ways to change spending habits, as well as debt payoff plans and savings goals, but perhaps its most popular feature is “In My Pocket”: a digital snapshot of how much money you’ll have leftover after paying your bills, budgets, goals and debts.

Cost Free (Premium version: $12.99/month; $74.99/year)

Best Budgeting App For DIY Investors

Empower

Empower

iOS | Android

For some parents, investing is an important piece to the budgeting puzzle, and Empower boasts tools to manage both. The app allows you to view your spending, bank accounts, mortgage, investments and retirement accounts all in one place. It also includes budgeting features that allow you to set savings goals and gives insight on where you can cut costs in order to maximize your savings. It’s worth noting that the investment function is the emphasis of Empower, so this app is best for DIY investors who’d like a big picture view of their finances.


Katrina Nattress

Katrina Nattress is a writer and mother of two who resides in Portland, OR.

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